September 17, 2015
State Officials: Agreement Provides Framework for
Environmental Clean-up at New Haven's English Station
Should the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) ultimately approve the proposed acquisition of UIL Holdings (UI) by Iberdrola, the companies will commit as many resources as necessary to remediate the island in New Haven that currently houses the contaminated English Station power plant, Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Robert Klee announced today.
The companies have agreed to a negotiated consent order with DEEP providing that UI, which survives after the merger, will not contest its responsibility to remediate English Station to commercial and industrial use, which is the parcel's current zoning designation.
The state estimates that costs to remediate the island will be under $30 million. If costs are below $30 million, the state will retain the difference and direct the remainder of funds to a public purpose. If the costs are ultimately more than $30 million, the companies may on their own accord seek other funding sources to recover costs, such as grants, but have committed to spend the full amount necessary to remediate the island. The state will strongly oppose any attempt to recover remediation costs from ratepayers. The companies will propose the scope of work to fully examine the pollution and clean it, and DEEP will review and approve the scope of work. 
The consent order is contingent on the approval of the merger by PURA and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The companies' application for approval is currently pending at PURA, and hearings are scheduled into October of this year. PURA must determine whether the proposed merger, including the commitment to clean-up English Station, is in the public interest and serves a clear public need. PURA is currently scheduled to render its decision by December 4.
"This is an important settlement – to New Haven and to Connecticut. The English Station has long been a site that absolutely needed to be cleaned up and given a second life, and now it will be," Governor Malloy said. “Connecticut has become a national leader on environmental issues, and we've worked tirelessly to transform vacant, existing sites across the state into revitalized spaces. This settlement is a major step forward towards making this land usable. It’s the right thing to do for the environment, and it’s good for growing jobs and expanding business. I would like to congratulate the Attorney General and his office for this important work and for getting this agreement done. I would also like to thank DEEP for all of its work on this issue."
"This agreement is the product of countless hours of negotiations, led by my office," said Attorney General Jepsen. "We have reached a very strong agreement that resolves a significant portion of the dispute surrounding this property and places us on a path toward bringing the site back to productive industrial use in the City of New Haven. English Station is an environmental and public health hazard, and its clean-up will be a tremendous benefit for the state and the local community. The proposed merger between UIL and Iberdrola has provided a unique opportunity to address the contamination. This clean-up agreement, along with significant ratepayer protections that PURA will be able to monitor and enforce as well as other economic development commitments made through the PURA proceedings, would make this merger one that I believe is within the public interest. I thank the companies and our partners in this negotiation – Governor Malloy and his staff as well as DEEP and the City of New Haven – for their good-faith efforts that have helped to bring us to this positive result."
"This Consent Order will provide real benefits to the city of New Haven and the neighborhoods that surround this site," Commissioner Klee said. "It will allow us to address long-standing issues on this property that pose potential environmental and public health risks. If the proposed merger takes place and this Consent Order goes into effect, DEEP looks forward to administering it and working with all interested parties to achieve a cleanup of the English Station site."
"This tainted, waterfront parcel on the Mill River has been unusable for more than 20 years – since UI shut down the English Station plant and left the property contaminated with PCBs, asbestos, and other toxic chemicals," Mayor Toni N. Harp said. "State regulators determined then, and have said all along, that UI is responsible for remediation and restoration of the property to productivity. I'm delighted the Governor's Office, the Attorney General's office, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection completed this conditional agreement with UI so New Haven might now begin to consider new uses for the land."
"The shuttered English Station site has long been a dangerous environmental blight on the Fair Haven community," said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). "Cleaning up English Station is critical for the health and safety of New Haven residents and the neighborhood’s future. I want to thank Governor Malloy and Attorney General Jepsen for their incredible work to make the remediation possible."
The English Station power plant is no longer in operation. The site is extensively contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a known carcinogen; heavy metals; and other contaminants. The site is currently owned by Asnat Realty, LLC of Bayside, N.Y. and Evergreen Power, LLC, of Wilmington, Md. The state intends to engage the current owners immediately, if the merger is approved, in order to attempt to secure access to the site and begin the investigation necessary to initiate clean-up efforts.
Administrative proceedings, already underway at DEEP, will continue against UI as to responsibility for clean-up of contamination in the Mill River surrounding the island. Administrative proceedings against other respondents involving the entire site will also continue at DEEP.
Media Contacts:
Office of the Governor:
Devon Puglia
860-524-7314 (office)
860-770-8298 (cell)
Office of the Attorney General:
Jaclyn M. Falkowski
860-808-5324 (office)
860-655-3903 (cell)
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection:
Dennis Schain
860-424-3110 (office)
860-462-3468 (cell)
Consumer Inquiries:
Twitter: @AGJepsen